Community Equity Survey


The City of Lynnwood launched its inaugural Community Equity Survey and engagement effort in 2021 to better understand community members’ experience with Lynnwood as a safe, welcoming, and equitable community for all. The survey explores the existing landscape of experiences with belonging, safety, civic engagement, and interactions with government across Lynnwood’s diverse communities. The analysis of this survey and the ensuing recommendations – both of which are included in this report – should support the City of Lynnwood with a credible data set and a foundation for decision making to explore more deeply – and subsequently respond to – community equity needs.

Lynnwood has a strong sense of neighborhood-centric community identity which supports most community members feeling of safety, belonging, and connectedness in the City. People care about the diversity in their community and wish to see that diversity celebrated. Though generally positive, safety priorities and experiences varied across physical safety, stability of basic needs, and reliability of emergency response services. Aspirationally, people want to see the City be more proactive and accessible to involve residents in civic engagement opportunities.

Overview and Survey Administration

In partnership with BDS Planning, the City of Lynnwood executed a robust distribution and engagement strategy to ensure Lynwood’s most underserved communities would feel supported in participating in the survey process. It was of critical importance to ensure that the survey respondents reflected Lynnwood’s population dynamics. In addition to a broad communication campaign, the City of Lynnwood worked closely with four cultural and community organizations to emphasize connection with communities that are often underrepresented in civic engagement and are a part of populations that have experienced disproportionate harms and impacts because of broad community development. The digital and physical surveys – and their corresponding outreach materials – were also translated into Spanish, Korean, and Vietnamese. It is important to note, however, that only one respondent took the Vietnamese survey, leaving the response unfinished.

At the close of the survey collection period, a total of 824 surveys were collected across the four languages. Input reflects a largely representative sample of the Lynnwood population. 64% of respondents identify as white, 14% as Asian, 7.7% as Black or African American, 8.9% as Multiracial and 19% identify as having Latino or Hispanic ethnicity.

Background and Methology

The Lynnwood Community Equity Analysis gathers insights from community members regarding their experience with Lynnwood as a safe, welcoming, and equitable city. The project intended to evolve over several phases including a survey, its analysis, and community focus groups. Given the circumstances and limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic, the survey implementation required a multi-pronged approach which could reach as many people as possible as well as empower populations who have not been traditionally reached by past City outreach to participate. As a result, the survey distribution strategy included sharing online and physical versions, translating the survey – and corresponding materials – to Spanish, Korean, and Vietnamese, maximizing existing City communication channels, and most importantly, partnering with four local community-based organizations for direct and trusted engagement.

The City of Lynnwood collaborated with and resourced four community-based organizations to reach traditionally underserved populations. The partners included Latino Education & Training Institute (LETI), Snohomish Korean Women’s Association, the YWCA, and the Lynnwood Food Bank. Each organization received a stipend and dedicated support from Lynnwood staff to identify and execute the most culturally responsive approach to reach the respective communities the organizations served. This targeted approach with such priority equity communities ensured that the data would not be skewed toward the voices closest to privilege and access. We gathered a total of 824 respondents to the survey. It is worth noting that we only received one response to the Vietnamese language survey and it was incomplete. Therefore, it is not counted in the final results.

The ongoing and changing circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic required that the outreach and engagement take place both online and in-person. 

 Regarding the response targets, BDS Planning and the City of Lynnwood aspired for a data set representative of Lynnwood’s population. Ultimately, given that the intent of the survey analysis is to inform future decision making to meet diverse community needs, it was critical that a meaningful quantity of responses was received by respondents with diverse identities. All respondents were asked to share information regarding their ethnicity, race, age, gender, Zip code, income, disability status, tenure, and much more.

64% of respondents identify as white, 14% as Asian, 7.7% as Black or African American, 2.8% as American Indian/Native American, 8.9% as Multiracial and 19% identify as having Latino or Hispanic ethnicity.

Comparatively, the 2020 US Census identifies 52% of Lynnwood residents as white, 19% as Asian, 7.4% as Black or African American, 1.1% as American Indian/Native American, 11.2% as Multiracial and 15.7% identify as having Latino or Hispanic ethnicity.

The survey contained a total of 36 questions and respondents had the option to skip questions if they preferred not to answer.


The survey included 14 questions related to respondent demographics including location, age, gender, race & ethnicity, income and more.

 Survey Demographics.JPG


  • The most highly spoken languages1 in the Lynnwood home are English, Spanish, Chinese/Cantonese, and Korean
    • A robust part of the community are those who speak Slavic languages such as Russian and Ukrainian, German, and French.
  • Spanish Language and Korean language surveys illuminate an income disparity. 80% of Spanish-speaking survey respondents report an income under $70,000 annually, even with primarily multigenerational households. Moreover, Korean-language respondents, primarily over the age of 65, report incomes of under $25,000 annually with average household size of 2.
    • Korean-language households more likely to contain a veteran of the US Military than the general population.


Survey Languages.JPG

Sense of Belonging and Feeling Welcome

Lynnwood has a strong sense of neighborhood-centric community identity. Often, resident’s strongest community attachments are to where they live, who they live around, and their surrounding amenities. People care about the cultural diversity in their community and feel that it should be celebrated. There is motivation to see the City of Lynnwood serve as conveners of gatherings and other forms of connection building across communities.

  • People defined community foremost around their neighbors and secondly based on demographics. This sentiment was true for BIPOC2 and LBGTQ+3 populations as well.
  • Spanish speaking households only: community is mostly defined by profession or religion
  • Korean-speaking household: community is mostly defined by shared religion/faith. Most Korean-language households report Christianity as their primary religious practice.

Across the three language surveys, people most value their communities because it makes them feel like they belong, their community helps them feel safe and their community shares information and resources with one another.

  • Additionally, English-language respondents also meaningfully value the diversity in their community.
  • Less than 10% of respondents believe their community or culture is not welcome in Lynnwood.
  • Approximately 42% of English language respondents indicated that they would contact their neighbors in response to a safety concern. Second to only calling 911.
  • Both informal and formal community and cultural gatherings are significant ways to uplift connectedness and belonging.
    • Spanish language only survey respondents prioritized events hosted by the City of Lynnwood as the greatest opportunity to feel accepted. Informal gatherings and coverage of celebrations being shared in local media also ranked highly.
    • An increase in visible representation of Lynnwood’s diversity – particularly in government positions – was meaningfully suggested to address non-belonging.
  • There is a minor, but relevant, sentiment that the City is putting too much emphasis on issues of race, diversity, and equity.

Community Health & Safety

Most respondent feel safe in Lynnwood; however, sense of safety is based on a variety of sources for different people and populations. Many prioritize physical safety, others strongly associate safety with stability of basic needs, and others with a reliability on emergency response services. Though generally positive, there are discrepancies in feelings of safety and fair treatment across a variety of minority subpopulations. Quality of life and safety are also connected to sense of belonging and connectedness.

  • 63% of respondents ‘strongly agree’ or agree’ with the statement “I feel safe in Lynnwood”
    • Only 14% of participants responded to the statement with ‘disagree” or ‘strongly disagree’
    • These rates were relatively similar for both BIPOC, LGBTQ+ populations, and people who are disabled
    • Spanish and Korean language responses indicate a much higher rate of “feeling safe in Lynnwood” compared to the English language responses
  • When considering all English Language survey respondents, most people reported not often or rarely experiencing unfair treatment when interacting with other people or local institutions.
    • However, for people who identify as BIPOC5, LGBTQ6, or disabled/requiring access needs7 the frequency of feeling unfairly treated was typically higher than those who do not share these identities.
      • The data seems to suggest a similar – if not greater – impact for people who do not speak English or speak another language in addition to English.
  • When indicated with a comment in the English language survey, the most common responses to why respondents have felt unsafe or treated unfairly are related to interactions with police, government inaction/inaccessibility, or the physical environment (e.g. pedestrian safety, construction, or inadequate transportation infrastructure)
    • Government inaction refers to both City staff or elected officials.
    • There is mixed response regarding police whether respondents indicated having direct interactions or not. Several have had positive experiences while several others have a low expectation about law enforcement’s ability to respond to experience of crime effectively.
  • Social supports such as low-income housing, expanded child day care, and better public transportation were shared as ways to increase accessibility and improve quality of life.


Future Data Collection
  • Assess even further marginalized populations. Who was not reached through this process? Which communities are not yet mobilized/organized that could benefit from capacity building?
  • Youth and young adult participation was minimal to none through the survey process. Uplift youth civic involvement through targeted engagement.
  • Deepen specificity on City information and resources most resonant to communities.

Priorities for Staff & Departments
  • Continue to pursue relationships with Community-Based organizations and the populations they serve, in order to build out the city’s network of support and create sustainable community feedback loops.
  • Consider capacity building for more trusted advocates/partnerships between community and the City. By doing so, this will alleviate the burden on single points of contact. The more that relationships can be housed across a variety of departments, the better.
  • Continue to implement targeted community engagement via focus groups, stakeholder interviews, and through cultural events. A Best Practices Guide for Community Focus Groups is attached in Appendix C.
  • Meet people where they are to ensure that the City is being proactive in mitigating barriers. Some of the survey data shares initial context for some communities/sub populations and the best way to interact.
  • Expand translation services for Korean, Spanish, and Chinese languages, especially for public processes.
  • Recruit for civil service positions in marginalized communities. People are interested in seeing more diversity of public service officers, including fire, police, and social workers.
  • Leverage existing assets that can support place-based identity building. Lynnwood has many places to gather for recreation, including parks, trails, and community centers; many responses to the survey included some mention of using these resources and spoke highly of the services available in the city.
  • Consider expansive definitions of diversity when considering celebration opportunities and outreach. There is a clear opportunity to be more inclusive of LGBTQ+ considerations.
  • Continue assessing equity conditions on a regular frequency. We recommend sharing this survey on an annual or biennial frequency to test progress against this baseline.

Longer Term Opportunities
  • Create a long-term shared vision for equity work at the City of Lynnwood. It will be worthwhile for the City of Lynnwood to work on internal buy-in and ownership for future equity work across all levels of government. All projects should stem from the core mission of your Equity & Social Justice team.
  • Tie equity outcomes and investments in community engagement/relationship building to future growth targets. This survey represents a baseline for Lynnwood’s conditions. As the city continues to grow and light rail comes online in the next couple of years, existing progress should be leaned into to scale as the city does.
  • Create accessibility in policy development and planning efforts at the city. Marginalized communities are expressing interest in the process but unable to participate due to inaccessibility.
  • Increase Transparency in public processes. Many respondents of the survey indicated a frustration with the lack of transparency from the city about results of their surveys or other efforts. It is important to create feedback loops with communities to ensure transparent communication and decision-making.
  • Increase representation in leadership positions, especially with elected officials.